Kelly Slater's 'Freakish' Stunt Starts Fight Over Rules Of Surfing

The only people he didn't impress were the judges.
Kelly Slater wowed his fans with a mid-air stunt at the 2015 Hurley Pro surf contest.
Kelly Slater wowed his fans with a mid-air stunt at the 2015 Hurley Pro surf contest.

After 25 years of professional, record-breaking surfing, you'd think Kelly Slater would eventually run out of new tricks

Nope. The 43-year-old isn't even close.

During his Saturday heat at the 2015 Hurley Pro at Trestles surf contest, Slater pulled off an insane aerial maneuver that has surfers everywhere scratching their heads in disbelief. 

As seen in the video below, Slater goes for a wave early in his heat and launches himself off the lip of the wave, while rotating in the air. He disconnects  while spinning with it and lands on his stomach in the white wash. 

Then, in one quick and fluid motion, Slater grabs his board, places it underneath him, pops back up and continues surfing the latter part of the wave where he snaps a few turns and even executes a backside 360 -- all like it's no big deal.

The commentator summed it up perfectly: "That's just freakish talent."

Slater's stunt impressed the crowd and the Internet, but fans and experts alike were outraged when the judges awarded him a lowly 4.17 points out of a possible 10.

The World Surf League judges considered the wave incomplete since Slater did not land on his feet after the aerial. He eventually lost the heat to Mick Fanning.

Sam George, a prominent surf journalist, pointed to the WSL judge's inconsistent judging throughout the competition. "To award Slater’s display of spontaneous magic a 4.17 was a disgrace," he wrote on

Others wagged their fingers at the judges' "by the book" methodology, saying "sometimes you have to throw that book out the window."

"Surfing is not gymnastics," a surf blogger wrote on The Inertia. "It's an extreme sport where you go for the craziest shit you can think of and try to ride out."

 Slater, however, didn't take things so seriously.

"In my head, I was laughing that I was even still on the wave," Slater told the WSL. "Then I was just kind of goofing around."

 As for the low score, Slater brushed it off.

"I’m the competitor," he said. "I’m the one that has to bear the brunt of that being a good or bad score. And I’m not too worried about it. I don’t know why so many people are.

Watch Kelly Slater's full ride and Aquaman-like skills in the video below.

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